Hublot Big Bang Black Caviar (Ref.  346.CX.1800.BR) Swiss

At the upcoming Baselworld 2011 trade show Hublot, the Swiss watchmaker that is known for its radical approach to conspicuous consumption, is going to present a somewhat unexpected take on the concept of invisible opulence: the ultra-luxury Hublot Big Bang Black Caviar (Ref. 346.CX.1800.BR) that has every square millimeter of its surface paved with glossy black ceramic blocks.

Overall Impression

With its case, crown and even the dial made entirely of ceramic, the new Hublot Big Bang Black Caviar seems to be the first watch ever to use the scratch-resistant and lightweight material to such an extent. Those who keep an eye on the still young Swiss brand probably immediately noticed that the new timepiece is coming in the footsteps of the famous Hublot Black Caviar Bang one-off watch that was released a couple of year’s ago as the watchmaker’s tour de force.

Hublot Big Bang Black Caviar (Ref.  346.CX.1800.BR) in ceramic

This time, there is no tourbillon here and the Caliber HUB 1112 self-winding movement that animates it is a deliberately simple mechanism with its standard three hands and a date (as far as I understand, the mechanism is based on the well-known Sellita SW300 ebauche,) however the ceramic surfaces of the watch are designed, cut, beveled and polished in order to remind you of (or to simply imitate) the hundreds of baguette black diamonds from the super-exclusive timekeeper that retailed at exactly one million dollars.

Mechanism

Adding a couple of extra words about the movement, I must admit that I am somewhat disappointed by its blatant lack of refinement. While I understand that they probably tried to develop a finish that looks extremely high-tech and, well, different from the rest of the crowd with their inevitable permutations of Geneva stripes, perlage, and all the usual stuff, I still think that they could have done better making the mechanism more elegant: we have seen numerous examples (I am thinking primarily about Porsche Design and Panerai, of course) when deliberately simple finish looked way cooler than lavishly hand-engraved calibers by incumbent brands, such as Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantine.

Caliber Hublot HUB 1112 (based on Sellita SW300-1)

Case & Strap

The high-polished glitter of the 41-millimeter case is perfectly matched with the strap, which is made of glossy black alligator leather stitched on black rubber. As always, the strap is where things get complicated as long as it develops first signs of wear: Hublot uses the proprietary strap-locking system and you will probably be forever enslaved by the brand when it comes to replacement straps. Well, maybe that’s not a bad thing unless the watchmaker suddenly decided to go out of business, eh?

Hublot Big Bang Black Caviar (Ref.  346.CX.1800.BR, the crown and dial, detail)

Conclusion

While I had rather mixed feelings regarding the original Black Caviar model, I must say that I like the ceramic version of the watch. Although this version will, too, be quite expensive, there is a lot less of conspicuous consumption in it and a bit more of a good taste.

See also: Breitling Montbrillant 01 Chronograph

WWR Verdict

Originality 4/5
Build Quality: 5/5
Usability: 4/5
Overall Legibility: 3/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Photos: Hublot

Hublot Big Bang Black Caviar (Ref. 346.CX.1800.BR) specification

Price: $11,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber Hublot HUB 1112 (based on Sellita SW300-1,) Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Skeletonized black rotor, machine-brushed bridges
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Ceramic
Shape: Round
Size: 41.00 mm
Dial: Ceramic
Hands: Steel, open-worked
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Brilliant black “glossy” alligator strap stitched on black rubber
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating
Back: Sapphire


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